by Charles Reznikoff
Not because of victories
but for the common sunshine,
the largess of the spring.
Not for victory
but for the day's work done
as well as I was able;
not for a seat upon the dais
but at the common table.
From The Complete Poems of Charles Reznikoff. Copyright © 1976 by Charles Reznikoff. Used by permission of Black Sparrow Press, an imprint of David R. Godine, Publisher, Inc.
Those Winter Sundays
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?
--Robert W. Service
Of Poetry I've been accused,
But much more often I have not;
Oh, I have been so much amused
By those who've put me on the spot,
And measured me by rules above
Those I observe with equal love.
An artisan of verse am I,
Of simple sense and humble tone;
My Thesaurus is handy by,
A rhyming lexicon I own;
Without them I am ill at ease -
What bards would use such aids as these?
Bad poets make good verse, they say;
The Great have not distained to woo
The modest muse of every day;
Read Longfellow and Byron through,
The fabric test - much verse you'll see
Compared with what is poetry.
Small blame; one cannot always soar
To heights of hyaline sublime;
Melodious prose one must deplore,
And fetters of rebellious rhyme:
Keats, Browning - that's another tale,
But even Giants fail and fail.
I've worshipped Ryley, Harte and Field,
And though their minstrelsy I lack,
To them heart-homage here I yield,
And follow with my verseman's pack:
To them with gratitude I look,
For briefing me to make this book.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/22/2006 11:21PM by lg.
Three super poems and that lovely picture - thank you all of you - they've given a lovely start to my day!